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Word Count: 481
After World War I millions of veterans were rushing to get jobs The war ended so abruptly that the government had to cut more than two billion dollars worth of war contracts More than ten percent of the American population was unemployed This sent many people out onto the rails looking for jobs These people became known as hoboesHoboes traveled the country by train looking for work wherever they could They would stop at houses along the way and exchange work for food and a place to sleep Most people understood the situation that the hoboes were in and let them sit with them at the table and gave them a place to sleep in the barn Most of the people were traveling from the east to California by hopping trains throughout the Midwest They would hop freight trains as they passed by where they were currently stationed Often hoboes would group together in camps called hobo jungles Every hobo would contribute to the camp by getting firewood or finding ingredients to the soup Most major railroad junctions had a hobo camp nearby The hobo lifestyle had its ups and downs Being vagrants they were not welcome in some places Hazards included railroad bulls police town police hostile citizens bad dogs and worse It was not uncommon for railroad police to beat trespassers In fact the bulls could be very mean in one place but rather friendly in anotherHobos kept tabs on places and informed others Along the way they developed a set of symbols to pass on vital information This hobo keyboard was meant to be marked with charcoal or chalk The marks would be left on fenceposts switchmens shacks on the back of roadsigns and other places In this way a hobo could warn his fellows of dangers and tell them of benefits Symbols are an odd set of marks to most folks but accurate messengers to those who understand them The hobo
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